Missouri Weddings: Getting a Marriage License in the Show-Me State

An old friend of mine and his wife recently got granted a Missouri divorce, they were able to accomplish this on-line of all places! For all intents and purposes the divorce apparently was not too difficult to facilitate. So this got me to wondering – if a Missouri divorce is so easy, what’s involved in a Missouri wedding?

I’m not too sure if a couple can married on-line, but these days nothing surprises me. Anyway, excluding a quick trip to Las Vegas, a Missouri wedding couldn’t be to much more time-consuming that a dissolution of marriage.
I was researching the rules and regulations of having a Missouri wedding and some of the legal-speak had me wondering. Most of the procedure seems pretty straight forward, and I imagine a Missouri wedding is not a whole lot different from one in Arizona or Oregon. But a couple of items on the old checklist just make me scratch my head. But who am I to judge?

Speaking of a judge, any couple that wants to tie the knot and have a Missouri wedding needs to get a marriage license from the county courthouse of the county they reside in. It goes without saying that the couple needs to get the marriage license before the wedding. But you never know, maybe there’s a young couple out there who wants to save time and have their Missouri wedding first, and then take care of the paperwork. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way!

The happy couple needs to provide identification in order to get the marriage license. Usually a birth certificate or driver’s license will suffice. Both the bride and groom have to voluntarily consent to be married. “Voluntary consent”. Well, that would certainly be a nice way to kick off the marriage – voluntarily. Nothing like being forced to marry to start your marriage off on the right foot. It take about 10 – 15 days to process the marriage license for a Missouri wedding, and once that is out of the way the couple needs to get married within 30 days. Let me re-phrase that: they don’t need to do anything. I honestly think the “have the Missouri wedding “within 30 days” clause actually gives couples an opportunity to change their minds if they were looking for a way out.

For the wedding to occur, both parties need to be at least 18 years of age. As long as they are 18 years of age then mom and dad can’t butt their noses in and ruin everything. However, if the individuals are between 15 and 17 years of age they need written permission from a parent or legal guardian. No why would any parent give permission to their underage son or daughter to marry? I know what you’re thinking, “Well – of course, if one of them is pregnant!” Aaak! I don’t want to open up a can of worms here!

What strikes me as odd, is that if the girl is under 18 and the groom is over 18; doesn’t that mean they have to wait? Isn’t there something illegal about a girl under the age of ‘consent”. You’re telling me that if my fiancÃ?© is 15 and I’mâÂ?¦I don’t knowâÂ?¦20 years old, all I need is her mother’s consent? Shouldn’t I worry about being arrestd? Apparently in Missouri they’re drinking a lot more than just milk.

But wait, if the individuals are under 15 then they need a court order to have a Missouri wedding. A court order? Under 15? Are we in Missouri or Arkansas? At this point the legal speak involved here isn’t nearly are worrisome as the thought that somewhere a Missouri wedding is taking place with an underage bride or groom. And maybe there’s there’s a cross-eyed boy playing the wedding march on a banjo as well.

Getting back to the procedure for a Missouri wedding, once the license has been obtained and the couple – if they’re underage – has their parent’s permission. Then they only need a member of the clergy to make the union binding and legal. Missouri doesn’t recognize common law marriage – I can’t understand why not, they seem to think it’s o-k for 14 year olds to get hitched – but if the couple had a common law marriage outside of the state of Missouri than they can petition the court to have the union recognized by Missouri law. Missouri wedding? Like I saidâÂ?¦easy!

Well just when I thought I’d heard it all, I heard about a Missouri wedding. Now I’m curious how the other 49 states compare.

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